That's the trick! Got some great alternative bean options from the sales group. Tried the Lavazza Super Crema and Lavazza Tierra Intenso. The machine works great with these...dry puck, much more crema no need to continue to help the beans down the grinder.
I am (was) a Starbucks snob. The flavor of these shots are comparable. Intensois is, well a little more intense. But nt bitter. Super Crema is really smooth, but still works in a latte without losing flavor.
my problem is solved!